Candy Memories

You know how there are little things that will always remind you of someone? Like every time I see a greyhound or something with a greyhound on it, I think of my friend Natalie. Whenever I see anchors or nautical-themed things, I think of my cruise-loving mother in law.

When I see certain candies, I think of my dad. My dad was a fan of hard candies. He had four favorite kinds of hard candies: Peppermints, lemon drops, cinnamons and Horehounds (brown candies that have a unique flavor that reminded me of licorice and root beer).

They’re the kind of candies that you find in the paper bag packages at the Cracker Barrel country store. The ones with very distinct and very different flavors. Continue reading

Short a Dad

The timing of everything in my life with Father’s Day is, to say the least, inconvenient. Aside from all sorts of things house/home related, I’m doing things, going places and experiencing moments that I want nothing more than to share with my dad.

My new(ish) staff member is a young man who just moved into his first apartment of his own. His first weekend there, he’d told me of everything he hoped to accomplish before Monday. When Monday came, he shared with me that nothing was completed, he was trying to build a futon. True to the nature of futons, it was giving him trouble. He explained that his dad was going to come over and help him out.

To which I replied, “Dads are great!” There’s nothing wrong with calling in your dad reinforcement, as a 20 (or 30) something.

I’m short a dad. My husband and I depend heavily on my father-in-law when we need help with a “dad” thing. But he’s a little far away. Most of the married couples I know are able to take turns calling in a dad, and sometimes the dads tag-team the problem. I’ve seen it first hand and it’s pretty great.
It makes me a little jealous. My father-in-law is fantastic. But he’s not my dad. I know that I could ask my uncle or my mom’s husband to help out, but it’s different.

My dad solved problems for me, fixed things for me, asked the right questions and gave sound advice.

As we’re going through the process of selling a home that my father never got to see and building a new home that my father will never see, I sometimes think about features that I believe my dad would have liked. When I work on technical projects in the industry that I do, I know that my dad would understand the applications and think they’re cool, without me having to explain why they’re cool. When I travel for work, I find myself in cities he visited for his job and at events like the ones I remember him going to when I was a kid. Even sometimes when I’m sitting with Holmes or Watson on my lap, I think, “Dad would have loved these cats.”

The longer it’s been since we lost my dad, the fewer rough days there are. But some days, like Father’s Day, will always be rough.

Missing Someone at the Holidays

There’s something about the holiday season that makes us miss loved ones who have passed away. This is going to be my third Christmas without my dad. Mostly I’m at peace with him being gone, but there are times when I miss him fiercely.

Discovering a box of my old pictures when getting ready to decorate was one of those times. There were a ton of pictures of dad in that box… pictures that I had forgotten about. Pictures of my first time at camp and he was a counselor, pictures that I remember him taking and the rough one was a random candid that I took of my dad and his mom about 15 years ago with my Crayola camera that used 110 film.

Everyone handles loss, old or new, differently around the holidays and the best advice that I can give is to let them. If they want to reminisce about traditions with that person, listen. If they don’t want to talk about it, don’t try to make them talk.

I don’t entirely subscribe to the Christmas tree as a scrapbook type mindset. I have some ornaments for the big things, like a first Christmas together ornament or a new home ornament but I don’t go get an ornament for everything. If you wanted a tour of my Christmas tree and to see specifically where my dad fits into it, I would show you these really cool green and red ornaments that he and my mom gave me the year Brad and I were engaged so that I’d have ornaments when we got our first tree. I’d show you the nativity ornament that he picked out especially for me another year. Then I might show you the only memorial ornament that I keep on our tree, it’s the one that was given to me with his picture from someone who knows what it’s like to lose a parent and spend that first Christmas without them.

I don’t think I’ll ever not think about my dad at the holidays and this will be the first Christmas without my grandmother. The holidays can be tough at times, but it shouldn’t take away from the joy of the season. Fostering the fond memories and continuing traditions are the best way for me to keep from being sad or angry that my loved ones aren’t here.

The main thing that I would like to put out there from my own experience, is please don’t try to force someone to relive the hurt of loss during the holidays, let them handle it how they need to.

 

Her Little Bit

My grandmother was the youngest child of a banker. My father was the youngest child of an elementary school teacher. I’m the youngest child of  a pastor.

In the E-family, I’m the ultimate “runt.” A nickname that my dad would occasionally call me. If my grandmother could introduce me to you, she would say, “This is my Little Bit.”

I can’t remember my grandmother calling me anything other than “Little Bit.”

Grandma and grandpa

There are a lot of things I want people to know about my grandmother, but it’s hard to put it all into a logical, organized post. The main thing that should be known about her is that she had a big heart, big in the way that there was room in her heart for everyone. She loved God, she loved her family, she loved her community and she loved animals. Continue reading

These Things Take Time

I was wondering about something random on my drive home from work the other day and I thought, “I should call dad. He would know.” It took me a minute or two before I remembered that I can’t call my dad.

It’s been almost a year and a half since my dad lost his battle with cancer. Sometimes that seems like a long time but the other day, it felt like I could just pick up the phone and call him like nothing ever happened.

I keep the people that I call most often on my favorites menu on my phone and the number listed after Brad’s was my dad’s. Three months after dad died, I removed him from the favorites menu but couldn’t bring myself to delete his cell phone number. It took several more months before I could delete his number completely, even doing that brought me to tears.

Time may bring healing, but it’s a slow process. As more time passes, it’s easier to tell stories about my dad without feeling angry or tearing up.

Today would have been my father’s 52nd birthday.